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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,180 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,180
Hads: 5,745
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 966
Gots: 1,627 | FT: 100
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

Our Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. We infused this robust porter with whole vanilla beans and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee, balances perfectly with the sweet caramel undertones of the malt, creating a winning combination for your palate.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,180 | Hads: 5,745
Photo of CarverMG
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Black, soft head. Poured 1 finger settled to top of the glass. Looks like a brand new black car.. Can see the reflection of the glass perfectly off the black background.

S: Vanilla and Coffee together. Chocolate following. A stronger espresso hit than vanilla but still balances out.

T: Espresso, Vanilla, Small hit of the ABV. A small Initial aftertaste of roasted espresso beans. Small tastes of Chocolate. Noticeably enough The vanilla pairs well with the espresso.

M: Really Smooth, Mild Carbonation, ABV kicks, Coffee (in a good way) filling the mouth.

O: Very Good Porter.. I would recommend stout lovers or even non dark beer lovers to try this.. Its a good good beer. (685 characters)

Photo of vic21234
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a snifter. Enjoy by date on the bottle reads 12/20/13.

A- Pours a very dark brown/ black with some very slight red hues if held to the light. A small amount of off white head quickly fades to the sides of the glass. Some lacing is noted too.

S- Awesome smelling beer. Tons of coffee notes immediately upon popping the cap. The coffee dominates the aroma and nothing more is really noted.

T- Starts off smooth with notes of vanilla and chocolate. Then comes the huge coffee flavor which takes over the rest of the taste. A heavy coffee bitterness is at the back of each taste.

M- Smooth, medium bodied, coffee forward, bitter aftertaste.

This is a great Porter, by far the best I've had. The coffee notes are fantastic. I'm glad BP is distributing to Illinois now. (797 characters)

Photo of angelogarcia3
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out syruppy with a slight head. Very dark color almost midnight in darkness. Strong vanilla creme aroma. Almost smells like I'm getting ready to drink a cream soda. However, once you take a sip of this beer you know immediately that you're not drinking a cream soda. A strong chocolate flavor with hints of vanilla and coffee. An excellent beer that I could drink over and over again. (401 characters)

Photo of tut2528
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

had this one on 2 separate occasions, and I feel that this brew is extremely time sensitive because there was such drastic differences. I condensed both reviews. My review is based off the first time I tried this brew.

thanks to matttyce for helping me get my hands on these!

1st Review

A: poured into a GI tulip, it is jet black with about 2 fingers worth of mocha colored head. phenomenal lacing that is long lasting

S: big sweet vanilla, chocolate, dark fruits that are terrifically balanced. I also pick up on coffee and roasted malt.

T: similar to the nose, big chocolate and dark fruits up front, coffee and slight roasted malt in the middle with a terrific vanilla finish. alcohol is slightly present but is felt more during the mouthfeel than in the taste

M: perfect for this brew IMO. full bodied, leaves a nice light roasted coffee and dark chocolate character with a slight touch of alcohol heat

O: just a damn good all around brew. very well balanced and all the characters intermingle nicely together

2nd Review

S: huge coffee, dark chocolat,e dark fruits and roasted malt have come forward, and the vanilla is lying way in the back (4.0)

T: big coffee up front with a roasted malt backbone. dark fruits are present along with dark chocolate. the vanilla has really fallen off from what I remember. (4.0) No alcohol whatsoever

M: mostly the same as before, but a bit lighter than I remember and the alcohol is nowhere to be found. It has a more roasted malt character as well. (4.0) (1,506 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-very dark brown liquid that lets just a little bit of light shine through giving off a red hue. The head is dark tan, thick and creamy with solid retention, well over a minute, and leaves a thick lacing on the glass. Borderline perfect appearance.

S-huge nose that brings roasted malts with a nice touch of vanilla leading into the roasted java, this is begging me to drink it!

T/M huge body!!! This is so thick it is chewy! The texture is very smooth and creamy. The taste brings huge roasted malts, some nice roasted java comes in next with a hint of vanilla. There is some nice dark chocolate and the finish is slightly bitter and brings a crisp bite

D- this beer is absolutely delicious, I really enjoy all of Ballast Point's offerings that I have had so far. This beer follows suit and is absolutely huge! I love the big coffee flavors and the vanilla is very light but mixes in well with the roasted malts. (917 characters)

Photo of stonewild
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Was like drinking baker's chocolate. Very nice beer, but WOW, I really needed something to clean the palate between sips. Which I had a strong cheese.

Dark, full body,dark chocolate bitter, rich flavor with a good touch of vanilla sweet.

When in the mood for a Porter's Porter, I would drink it again. (304 characters)

Photo of radshoesbro
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

first and foremost, it is very important that i mention that this beer needs to open up to really get the full flavor. don't be fooled into thinking this is just average, cause the further into the bottle you get, the bigger the grin on your face will be!

it pours the typical charred black with the medium tan head and some pretty good lace. there was a good deal of carbonation after pouring, which was a bit surprising.

smells of creamy malts and some coffee. there's a slight fudge smell to it.

initial taste, i'm thinking i've had better, and the normal victory at sea is better (especially on tap). the more i'm drinking it it's just getting really good. i'm patting myself on the back for buying two bottles!

i seriously could drink this all night, it goes down uber smooth! this is really a fantastic beer! i keep having to remind myself this is a porter too, i keep expecting that big stout finish, but i'm very happy with this! (951 characters)

Photo of rapidsequence
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle I bought at that beer/wine store on Wade Ave by Wellspring. $7.99. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Its black, basically opaque, but not the darkest black. Light brown head that faded quickly at first, but a little bit remained. Very nice lacing.

Smell: Big time mocha aroma. Rich cold coffee, caramel, vanilla, cocoa, a tiny hint of a smoky roastiness. Complex, fantastic.

Taste: Again, very much like a Starbucks iced mocha. Bitter, roasty coffee, vanilla, caramel, and chocolate. A bit of heat (just a bit) and bitterness from ethanol near the end.

Mouthfeel: This thing is big, soft,and unbelievably creamy. Incredible.

Overall: What a beer! I had one a few months ago on draft that was really good, but this is amazing. (745 characters)

Photo of stonermouse
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bomber into an oversized mug (single 22 oz. pour).

Pours a dark chocolate brown with a light brown head that sits for a minute, then dissipates into a small film.

Aroma is actually pretty chocolately; moreso than I expected. Almost like a plain Hershey bar. A bit of coffee in the back as well.

The flavor of this beer is phenomenal, and totally as advertised. The chocolate from the nose is third banana to the coffee, and the vanilla accent. They are perfect compliments to one another. This is a perfect dessert brew; a slow sipper for sure. The flavors were a little milder and cleaner when the beer was cool. When it warmed up a bit, the coffee took over, which was nice, but the profile certainly changed.

Mouthfeel is perfect for this brew. From the color and aroma, I suspected this would come off with stout density and bitterness, but it was perfect.

Drinkability is superb. I wish this beer was a sandwich garnish, a steak sauce, a pancake syrup, or a pie filling. This flavor profile is awesome. Merry Christmas to me. (1,042 characters)

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Ted!

Pours is black. Off white head. Looks good to me.

Smell is exactly what the name implies, which is odd anymore. Upfront coffee bitterness fights with a strong vanilla flavor. Roasted malts really take a backseat.

The coffee comes in first, assaulting your mouth and winning, then the vanilla comes in just a half second later taking over and showing you how a brewer should use vanilla. It feels like whole bean vanilla.

The pervading bitterness from the coffee and roasted malt try to stick around for the aftertaste, but the vanilla leaves a subtle sweet notes of vanilla.

Theres some serious and delicate flavors that mix very well here. Very well done Ballast Point. (688 characters)

Photo of grimey68
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this fresh in the beginning of December, and burnt coffee is extremely dominant in both the smell and taste; amazing if that's your thing. Hints of vanilla and subtle chocolate as well. The nose of coffee is just so dominant it's hard to get past. I plan on aging 2 or 3 and will revisit this review once aged a year. (325 characters)

Photo of Jaskeller
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just found a six pack of Victory At Sea and jumped on it. Typically in Somerville I only find the single bottle so have six servings really made my day.

The coffee flavor in the beer is on the dark roast side; floral but definitely bitter. The vanilla does a really good job of balancing out the beer but it definitely is not sweet. I really like the richness of the beer; it is very dark color but not too viscous.

If you like a porter with a bit of a spicy bite and a ton of balance, pick this sucker up and enjoy it! (523 characters)

Photo of travisdiener32
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

To my surprise poured into a pint glass on tap at new world brewing in Tampa. Not on the same level as wide awake it's morning but still an impressive imperial porter. Think an imperial Breckenridge vanilla porter. Looking forward to more from ballast point now that they're distributing in florida (298 characters)

Photo of gcamparone
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Purchased in North Providence, RI.

Pours a deep brown, nearly black body with a light mocha colored head that reduces slowly to leave a layer of foam.

Aromas of heavy coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla come through. Very potent smelling and inviting. On the tongue is bitter coffee, really high cocoa percent dark chocolate, finish is vanilla and caramel, aftertaste is chocolatey and roasty. Very very nice. Thick and rich, low carbonation, little alcohol detected.

For a highly available imperial porter, this is a great option if you're in the distro range. Definitely would buy again. Prefer over FBS. (654 characters)

Photo of DaverCS
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black with a finger of off white, Carmel colored head.

Aroma yields smokey malts, burnt coffee, and tobacco.

Taste is a big burst of smoke in beginning, followed by the roasted almost burnt coffee. Tobacco notes are woven through the smokiness, but primarily present up front. I don't get any vanilla. I get unsweetened cocoa powder followed by a twang of bitterness. The end of the sip is a strong kick/hit of alcohol. Not just warmth but also flavor.

Overall the beer is pleasant,but the lack of vanilla flavor and slight boo ones drops it down for me. Still this is an excellent porter. I could see it paired with a braised lamb shank in a rich Demi glace sauce. It gets a 91.2/100. (695 characters)

Photo of bnes09
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Dense viscous-looking motor oil colored liquid with a finger of whole wheat colored head on the pour. Head retreats to a ring around the glass and forms many small lace spots.

Rich, warm and inviting aroma of dark chocolate, bold coffee, vanilla and oak. Just a hint of bourbon. Extremely well balanced.

Dense, wheaty malt backbone with hints of cooked corn. Roasted malt boasts complex coffee, chocolate, toast and licorice qualities. Toffee and molasses sweetness in the perfect quantities to balance the roasted bitterness. Hop character starts as a non-specific, underlying, herbal bitterness allowing the malt character to shine through. The hops then morph into an aggresssive pinesol, garlic and nutmeg spice which maintains a good balance with the malty character and adds a spicy aftertaste. HInt of vanilla extract. Great balance for such a complex flavor.

Full bodied and bordering on a syrupy texture. Smooth and slick throughout from the dense malt then changes to ultra-dry from the aggressive hops. One of the more dynamic feels I've experienced in a beer.

Overall, this beer is outstanding. Deeply complex and delicious. (1,140 characters)

Photo of usechopstix4soup
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very black body with a thick foamy caramel head.

Smell is really what makes this beer wonderful. Smells of dark roasted coffee, vanilla, and caramel infused together dancing around the top of the brim into your nose. This is something you must try. There are bits and pieces of bread and other carby smells that give it depth.

The taste reminds me of a dark, black coffee with a shot of espresso and vanilla. It is bitter but porter lovers will be instantly drawn.

The porter has a watery body, lighter than most but this isn't something that I particular mind.

Great beer, definite recommend. (597 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. Big thanks to Khazadum for this.

4.0 A: Pours a black color. Two fingers of light brown creamy/frothy hybrid head. Average retention and some lacing. Good enough.

4.5 S: Not surprisingly the strongest aromas are coffee and vanilla. Sweetness gives the illusion of coffee with cream. Plenty of toastiness, with some roastiness as well, some grainy malts, semisweet chocolate, and caramel. Very nice.

4.5 T: Tastes a lot like the nose which is a cup of strong coffee with vanilla cream. The bitterness seems to come from mostly the coffee and it's moderate strength at best. Again, roasty and toasty, grainy, caramel and toffee, and quite tasty. Booze is hidden well.

4.5 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Super creamy and smooth. Nearly perfect.

5.0 D: This one drinks well from start to finish. Flavor is great as is the mouthfeel and this doens't seem like it's 10%. Good beer overall and easily the best I've had from BP. Sculpin doesn't even come close. (1,006 characters)

Photo of CHickman
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black color with a big 2 finger dark tan creamy head that faded very slowly and left excellent foamy lacing that left all kinds of designs and rings as it went down, as well as a layer on top.

Smells like very burnt coffee that burnt the coffee pot/container over a campfire, with chili pepper-like notes, coffee grinds that sat and cooked all day, light vanilla, charred wood, toffee, cocoa powder, dark chocolate and more roast aromas like a smoldering fire or a pile of cinders and ashes. Some sweetness peeks through like fruit and more vanilla, but the charred and ashy roasted notes dominate the nose.

Flavor is much better and much more complex than the nose, with the burnt coffee grinds and charred wood leading it off, but then the taste shifts to a burnt espresso sweetness with caramel, dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses, ash, toffee, cocoa powder, fire roasted nuts, piney hops, more very roasted coffee and toasted pumpernickel bread. The burnt coffee is so strong I feel like I won’t be able to sleep tonight from the caffeine jolt. There are so many aspects of coffee products and charred/roasted malts (mostly chocolate malts) working together that the sweetness almost slips by un-noticed and leaves a trail of vanilla, fudge brownie and toffee that then turns quite bitter like a Starbucks coffee. I love coffee and this flavor profile was so amped up like coffee on steroids in the brew that I had to force myself to stop from drinking this too fast; unbelievable flavor that is very complex and makes up for the complete lack of balance in this beer. I swear I smelt and tasted jalapeno pepper in this, and if my senses are correct then it was a nice addition to the beer as there was no offensive heat at all and the 10% ABV was generally well hidden.

Mouthfeel was smooth and on the mellow side for such a big beer, with average carbonation, a thick, chewy body that was like a coffee with heavy cream and chocolate milk mixed in it, and a very bitter finish that was ashy and on the dry side.

Pretty intense for a porter, this sets the bar a bit higher since the roasted elements and burnt coffee are just so strong that this brew commands respect and forces you to throttle back and drink it slower. Extremely enjoyable overall this is worthy of all the praise and a beer I will certainly seek out again. Any coffee beer fan out there should hunt down a bottle of this, it’s that good. (2,434 characters)

Photo of ebin6
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A - Pitch black color with a chocolate head which dissipates very slowly

S - I can smell the coffee from several feet away! Upon closer inspection it is indeed one of the most intense coffee noses I've smelled mixed with hints of vanilla and chocolate

T - True to form, it delivers a superb coffee & vanilla taste (I'm not even that fond of coffee). A bit suspicious of the "natural flavors"noted on the bottle, but....wow. I want more.

M - Rather dull considering the style, but it is obviously not the point of this beer

D - Hides the alcohol superbly and the coffee & vanilla taste does not wear, always leaving me wanting more (634 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours jet black with a two finger mocha head with large bubbles in it. The beer has very good head retention and significant lacing.
S: Roasty malts with hints of vanilla, coffee, and chocolate.
T: Starts with the taste of the vanilla, followed by coffee, then a little chocolatey, and finishes with a nice roasty maltiness... has a little bit of the bitter acidity that one would normally associate with coffee. The taste of the alcohol is hidden.
M: Very full bodied with very little carbonation, nicely coats the inside of your mouth while drinking it.
O: Wonderful example of the porter style and something I could definitely have over and over again. (658 characters)

Photo of jmdrpi
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, code of "VA513 05112", which is unclear of dating.

appears black, nice thick dark tan head. good lacing and retention. aroma is amazingly appetizing, bold vanilla, and sweet coffee with cream and sugar.

taste is a nice balance of roastiness and sweetness. not cloying at all. improves and gets more complex as it warms. medium body, moderate carbonation. nice and smooth drinking.

overall - a great beer. I guess called a porter because it's a bit thinner in body than most imperial stouts. (510 characters)

Photo of ZebraCakez
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured on 2/8/15 from 12oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a deep black color with a one finger khaki colored head that stays for the entire experience.

S: The aroma is somewhat subtle, but still inviting. Rich coffee and dark malt notes reign supreme here.

T: If you like coffee notes, this is an absolute must try. Fresh dark coffee, espresso, and vanilla all work together splendidly. There's some dark chocolate in the background, and it hides it's relatively high ABV beautifully. This is simply fantastic.

F: Thick and creamy, sticks to the mouth with pleasant carbonation. Nice.

O: I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to try this one, I'm hooked after my first bottle. (683 characters)

Photo of rawla
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

**Finally got around to typing the notes for this review***

Purchased a bomber from Vendome Wine and Liquor on Olympic Blvd on 12/17/2011 after Miguel, the gentleman who runs the beer section, recommended it due to it's limited availability.

Poured into a 6 oz snifter.

A: Pours with a rich, caramel head. About a finger of head. Surprising for a beer of this high ABV. Dark as night, but some range of color with some brown towards the head. A creamy toffee lacing on the sides. Awesome.

S: Vanilla Latte. The coffee is present, but the vanilla really PUNCHES through!. Very little alcohol presence in the nose. Impressive character.

T: Cafe con Leche notes, vanilla, espresso. Full semi-sweet presence throughout, without overbearing on the coffee and toasted profile. Well balanced. Again, you can't really taste the alcohol in this. Finishes off like coffee and vanilla bean, too. I want to say this is a straight-forward Imperial Porter, but that would be a disservice. It wants you to taste vanilla, coffee, espresso, and damn if it doesn't execute it flawlessly. Mmmm

M: Lighter than I expected. Goes down smooth, without really sticking through the roof of the mouth.

O: A stunningly well balanced Imperial Porter. Some bitterness i the end to keep the palate on it's toes, but overall an amazing beer. Will drink again.. A (1,341 characters)

Photo of djjacobsen
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown, night shade with a one finger tan head, small-carbed head. Nose is of freshly roasted coffee beans. Not much vanilla on the nose. Taste a bit smoky/roasted getting much more of the fresh coffee note that Ballast has added. Vanilla beans show up on the back end of the drink, staying for a while and almost becoming gourmand. Mouthfeel is creamy and enjoyable. It is a bit heavy but is a nice after dinner, dessert beer in the winter. This is more reminiscent if a stout than an imperial porter. Definately a fun change of pace as far as normal smoky porters/stouts go. Pick one up and give it a try. Very much enjoyed by a true hop-head who normally doesn't deviate from IPA land. (703 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,180 ratings.